NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Revealed Preference, Rational Inattention, and Costly Information Acquisition

Andrew Caplin, Mark Dean

NBER Working Paper No. 19876
Issued in January 2014
NBER Program(s):   TWP

We develop a revealed preference test for optimal acquisition of costly information. The test encompasses models of rational inattention, sequential signal processing, and search. We provide limits on the extent to which attention costs can be recovered from choice data. We experimentally elicit state dependent stochastic choice data of the form the tests require. In simple cases, tests confirm that subjects adjust their attention in response to incentives as the theory dictates.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w19876

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